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The objective to decrease energy intensity of the Russian GDP set in the “Concept for Long-Term Social and Economic Development of the Russian Federation by 2020” can be achieved only on the condition of a fundamental change in the attitude towards energy saving. Such a conclusion was made by the participants at the International Conference “Energy Saving as a Tool to Optimize Costs: Best Practices in Europe and Russia”, which took place on March 11, 2010 in Krasnoyarsk.

The event was organized by the SGS Group, a world leader in inspection, verification, testing and certification services with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Senior managers of the leading energy market players such as MRSK Sibiri, SGS, MRSK Yuga, Philips, Legrand, Daikin, Schneider Electric, Vent-Design and others took an active part in the discussion.

The human factor is the main reason for the low take-up of energy saving in Russia. The presentations delivered at the event demonstrated the evident economic benefits gained while increasing the energy efficiency of industrial sites and civil buildings. Nevertheless, unless energy saving becomes an integral part of the culture, if there is no responsible owner to switch off the light when leaving the premises the implementation rate of energy efficient solutions will remain low.

The above-mentioned situation is heavily influenced by such aspects as lack of knowledge in the area of energy saving, both in the business environment and in private life, as well as a lack of authentic statistics to measure energy efficiency. In Europe, the decision regarding acquisition of an asset, whether it be private apartment, office building or processing equipment, is taken not only in light of the acquisition price, but rather as a result of the asset’s further operational costs. But in Russia these issues are usually not taken into consideration and the buyer is guided by current interests.

Another serious barrier to increasing energy efficiency in Russia is, in the conference participants’ opinion, the tariff policy. It is important to radically change the relationship between the energy supplier and the consumer who should pay according to the quality of the consumed energy. In other words, the time has come for the Russian energy sector to adopt differentiated tariff-making and to bring it in line with the pricing principles active in the global market. Apart from the tariff policy improvement, introduction of tax and administrative incentives will allow investments in energy saving projects to be boosted. To evaluate energy saving quality a number of indicators were recommended.

As one of the speakers noted, we must not wait for 2020 to come. Already, by using proven technologies, any Russian enterprise is able to reduce its energy consumption by more than 40%. Obviously, energy saving is not limited to a single action but should be integrated into the management system of an organization. ISO 50001, the international standard for energy saving management systems, which has been under development and should be issued by the end of 2010, can become one of the tools for such an integration.